You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Bob Greenblatt Poised to Step Down as NBC Entertainment Chairman (EXCLUSIVE)

Bob Greenblatt is preparing to leave his post as NBC Entertainment chairman after leading the network’s turnaround during the past eight years.

Greenblatt, who renewed his contract with NBC last fall, is in the process of negotiating his exit plan at NBC after making the decision that the time is right for him to make the transition, multiple sources familiar with the situation have told Variety. He’s expected to meet this weekend with NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke to work out an exit plan that would give NBC a long runway for setting a successor. His official departure could be as late as the end of the 2018-19 season in May.

At NBC, Greenblatt has engineered an impressive rebound for the network after out of years in the ratings cellar. NBC has been a roll in the last two years in particular thanks to the buzzy hit “This Is Us.” Under Greenblatt, NBC has finished four of the last five seasons as the top-rated primetime network in the 18-49 demo. NBC also finished the 52-week 2017-18 season as the No. 1 network in nearly every ratings measure, including total viewers — the first time since 2001-02 that NBC has taken the total-viewers crown.

It’s understood that Greenblatt saw the total-viewers victory as a big milestone that was a good bookend for his NBC run.

Greenblatt joined NBC in 2011, just as Comcast completed its acquisition of NBCUniversal and months before the network launched what would quickly become broadcast’s top-rated unscripted series, “The Voice.” In 2016, NBC premiered “This Is Us,” which became the highest rated drama on broadcast. Greenblatt last year drew the creators and cast of comedy “Will & Grace” back to the network for a revival that proved to be a ratings success. The show has already been renewed for 2019-20, ahead of its upcoming 2018-19 premiere. NBC also scored a critical favorite with comedy “The Good Place,” which earned an Emmy nomination for star Ted Danson in his sophomore season.

Greenblatt’s tenure is also highlighted by the revival of the annual live TV musical spectacular, which he championed starting with the sleeper success of “The Sound of Music Live” in December 2013. NBC’s competitors have followed suit with their own productions, particularly Fox which is staging a rendition of “Rent” on Jan. 27. NBC is just coming off five big Emmy wins for its most recent production, “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert,” starring John Legend.

Among the heads of the Big Four broadcast networks, Greenblatt is the longest tenured, with seven years at the helm. A veteran of cable and broadcast, he was recruited from Showtime following a successful seven-year run there where he kickstarted its push into original series programming with dramas such as “Dexter,” “Nurse Jackie” and “Californication.”

Greenblatt has also long been active as a producer of Broadway and other theater, something that he may well pursue again after he leaves NBC. He was part of the team behind the 2014 Tony winning musical “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” and he produced the Broadway musical rendition of “9 to 5” during his time at Showtime.

Before Showtime, Greenblatt had a production partnership with David Janollari that yielded the Emmy winning HBO drama “Six Feet Under.” Earlier in his career Greenblatt was one the original members of the programming team at Fox Broadcasting, rising to No. 2 in programming.

Upon his arrival in 2011, Greenblatt recruited 20th Century Fox Television exec Jennifer Salke to lead scripted development for NBC. The network went on to find success with dramas such as “The Blacklist” and “Blindspot,” as well as Dick Wolf’s “Chicago Fire” and its offshoots. Salke left NBC earlier this year to become head of Amazon Studios. That transition is also said to have weighed on Greenblatt’s decision as he and Salke worked closely together for years.

Greenblatt’s departure adds to the turmoil among the Big Four broadcast networks at present with Fox and ABC poised for major shakeups as a result of Disney’s historic acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets. CBS is also been under pressure amid the corporate drama that has enveloped the company and led to the ouster of CBS chairman-CEO Leslie Moonves earlier this month.

More TV


    'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' Renewed for Seasons 3 and 4 at Netflix

    Netflix has ordered two more seasons of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.” The streamer has ordered another 16 episodes of the series, which will be split into two parts like Season 1 and 2. Season 3 and 4 will begin production in 2019. Season 2 is set to premiere April 5, 2019. “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” imagines [...]

  • Songs for Screens Powered by Mac

    How The Rolling Stones' 'She’s a Rainbow' Got a Seven-Figure Synch Renaissance

    As far as Rolling Stones chart hits go, “She’s A Rainbow” is more of a cult favorite in the band’s canon, just missing the Top 40 of Mick Jagger’s biggest Billboard Hot 100 hits of all time. But by 2018 standards, it’s suddenly become a smash — based on how many high-profile sync placements the [...]

  • David Schwimmer to Star in New

    David Schwimmer to Star in New Sky Comedy Series ‘Intelligence’

    David Schwimmer will play a power-hungry NSA agent relocated to the U.K. in “Intelligence,” a new six-part comedy series for Sky in Britain. Schwimmer is best known to British audiences for his role as Ross in “Friends,” but was recently in the news after British police posted a video of a suspected thief who seemed [...]

  • Fiona Campbell Named Controller of BBC

    BBC Names Fiona Campbell as New Head of Online Channel BBC Three

    The BBC has named Fiona Campbell the new boss of its youth-skewing online channel, BBC Three, replacing outgoing controller Damian Kavanagh, who is leaving in the new year to run Endemol Shine-owned producer Tiger Aspect. Campbell has been heading up the documentary unit at BBC Studios, the U.K. pubcaster’s production division. She also worked at BBC Three [...]

  • Rüdiger Böss, ProSiebenSat.1's Longtime Hollywood Buyer,

    Rüdiger Böss, ProSiebenSat.1's Longtime Buyer in Hollywood, to Leave the Company

    Rüdiger Böss, who as head buyer for ProSiebenSat.1 negotiated the German broadcast giant’s deals with U.S. studios for many years, is leaving after more than a quarter of a century at the company. Böss is a well-known figure in the international TV business and a familiar face at major events and markets. ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Conrad [...]

  • Rebel Wilson Romantic Comedy

    Rebel Wilson to Star in Australian Drama Series 'Les Norton'

    Rebel Wilson and David Wenham will star in Australian drama series “Les Norton.” Adapted from the novels of Robert G. Barrett, the show is presented by The Australian Broadcasting Corporation and Screen Australia. Set in 1985, the series will follow the exploits of a country bloke from outback Queensland, played by rising star Alexander Bertrand [...]

  • Korea's CJ ENM Acquires Scandinavian Sales

    South Korea's CJ ENM Acquires Scandinavian Sales Company Eccho Rights

    South Korean entertainment powerhouse CJ ENM has acquired a majority stake in Stockholm-based rights-management and sales company Eccho Rights. A leading entertainment and merchandising company in Asia, CJ ENM will give Eccho Rights the resources to expand its global footprint across Europe, the Middle East and Latin America. Eccho Rights has offices in Stockholm, Istanbul, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content